The FBI says that in the U.S., one out of every 36 homes will be raided by thieves in any given year. Often, the burglars were able to get in due to the residents’ carelessness.
Unlike the movies, in which burglars are hiding in the shrubs at night waiting for the homeowner to return home, then jump out and press guns to their ribcages, ordering them inside, real life burglars often literally stroll right through an unlocked door and help themselves to all the goodies. There are many ways the home occupant can make it easy for burglars to get in unnoticed.
- Unlocked doors and windows.
- A sloppy yard. This makes a thief think nobody’s hardly ever home, and he’ll likely target the house for a break-in.
- Shrubs and bushes that obscure entryways. Burglars love it when they can conceal themselves in the dark with the help of plant growth around windows and doors.
- Posting travel plans on social media. Yes, burglars scout social media to see who’ll be away from the house.
- Indiscriminately answering the doorbell. Burglars may pose as utility workers and talk their way inside. Or, they may push past the occupant and ransack the place while an accomplice restrains the occupant.
- A chronically dark house. Don’t be a utility bill penny pincher. Enough lights should be on at night, including when you’re home, to make a burglar think there’s fully-awake people inside. Automatic timers that turn lights on and off will make the house look occupied, and will make it appear people are up in the middle of the night, when many break-ins occur.
- Newspapers accumulating in the drive or a package sitting on the front stoop, suggesting nobody’s been home for a while.
Beef up Your Home’s Security
- Get a security system for the house that has it all: motion detectors, surveillance cameras, smartphone connections. Even if money is tight, you can still fool many a burglar with a fake camera installed above the front door, and security company signs around the house—even though you don’t have a system. But really, these days, there are systems for all budgets.
- Dog owners should hire a dog sitter rather than kennel their pet; a dog’s barking usually scares off a would-be intruder.
- Put your paper and mail deliveries on a vacation hold.